Friday, December 4, 2009

Writing Inspires...

Time Management!

Every year seems to go by faster for me. I can remember as a kid the summers alone seemed to last forever with endless nights of neighbourhood hide and seek, bike rides, and family events filling my hours. But now, summers whiz by without warning. In fact, the whole year seems to run in fast forward mode, but yet I'm told the twenty-four hours in a day now, is the same length as the twenty-four hours in any given day back then.

So what's changed?

I believe it's that as we get older our responsibilities multiply.

And as writers, one more important thing gets added to our daily to-do list. The wonderful act of crafting stories--bringing characters, dilemmas, and settings hidden deep within our psyche to life on the page becomes another responsibility. It's not a grueling responsibility by any means, though it takes hard, dedicated work, and time management to accomplish this task.

What amazes me most with writing is how much can be accomplished if I consistently keep working at it, AND how little can be achieved if I put it off until tomorrow. Know why? Because, if we aren't careful, those until-tomorrows very easily multiply if we don't crack our own whip and get back on track immediately. Ever notice that about taking a break with your writing? Or is it just me that lets those breaks snowball on occasion?

When I think of my writing 50k words in one month and that I've been writing for near seven years now, but only have five stories to show for it, something doesn't add up. I know, I know, there is all that editing time required, too, and study hours as well. But still, I need to be more consistent with my time management and logging that needed daily writing time, and not letting just a little break turn so easily into a week or two-week break from writing that first draft or editing for the umpteenth time.

So, what about you, how do you force yourself back on track, fitting writing into your daily list of to-do's when the breaks seems to roll into one another?

Surrendering to Him,


21 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!


Rebecca Nazar said...

Absolutely, I have to force myself. Snowballing is the perfect metaphor. The solution to this problem that many writing books mention is sit down the same time day in day out to write until it's second nature as brushing your teeth.

From my humble experience, it does work when applied.

Katie Ganshert said...

I've slowly moved toward sticking to a word count goal each day and making sure I follow through. I was hesitant to do this at first (who knows why), but I decided if I was serious, I needed to commit to something. So I've commited to a 1000 words a day. Somedays the words come out quite easily, other's are a huge battle.

I agree about time moving fast! It sort of freaks me out sometimes!

Happy Friday, Eileen! Hope you're having a super blessed week!

Jessica Nelson said...

I'm in a snowball right now, and am planning to shatter that thing today, but I know what you mean. I'm not sure what the solution is outside myself. It's really a discipline problem, I think, for me, and only something I can choose to overcome. Or not.

I hope you get tons of wordage in today. :-)
It feels like my life is going faster too. I don't like it. Wah!

Krista Phillips said...

I totally agree! I go through spurts... I do REALLY good for a few weeks, and then life gets in the way and I struggle to write for a whole month.

At the moment, I allow this of myself because I dont'want to get burnt out either. With 3 little kids and working full time... I just don't have time to manage. It's finding a balance... and sticking with it... that I'm working on.

Sarah Forgrave said...

The toughest challenge for me is vacations. When I'm away with my family for an extended period of time, I try to jump back in after I return home and devote a little extra time to get caught up.

Karen Lange said...

As much as I love to write, I have to be disciplined to get things done. I can be easily distracted and often unmotivated. Perhaps it would help to reassess my writing goals. Time does seem to pass more quickly now that my kids are grown, but as you said, it's the same 24 hours we had before! Thanks for giving me lots to think about. Blessings to you and your readers:)

Georgiana Daniels said...

The days certainly do seem shorter now! The one thing that has helped me stay in touch with my story, even if I don't have dedicated time that day is to keep the document open on the computer. During NANO I found that I CAN make use of 15 min chunks, and even if I only have 200 words the story is allowed to simmer on low instead of going cold.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Like Katie, I stick to a word count. Like Sarah, vacations are rough for me.

For some reason though it is sort of a compelling that makes me write. If I'm really honest, I need to make sure I'm not allowing it too much time in comparison to what I give my kids. I've been in prayer about this.
~ Wendy

Patti Lacy said...

Sigh. The Holy Spirit keeps pinching and nudging me until I resume what we've worked out for me. That three-page-minimum a day on WIP.

Eventually (at least so far) I find my groove...

Praying for you!

Joanne said...

I do stick to a daily routine, and am big on itineraries. I have a journal for them, usually weekly itineraries that help me foresee what's coming up in my life, where my projects stand, and how to schedule it all in.

Anna Scott Graham said...

For the last three years I have been utterly (and without any idea as to WHY) blessed with a plethora of ideas, words, and most importantly TIME.

For me, it's more being led to write, edit, sort out what happens next. I look at writing as a great gift, this completely God-graced ability and have no choice but to do as He directs, whether it be words to a document or the rewriting process.

For now (and who KNOWS what it will be like in future days) it's like breathing; you do it, rarely aware you're taking a breath.

Robyn Campbell said...

I don't beat myself up if I don't get my writing done. But!

I want to get at least 1000 words done on my writing days. And if I get more I feel super pleased. That's why I say at least 1000 words.

Time management is crucial. Think of it as self employment. :)

Suzette Saxton said...

I think 5 novels in 7 years is reasonable. You should feel good about that.

As for a schedule, for me what I sometimes need is permission from myself to ignore all the other things that I "should" be doing (chores, mostly.) And ideal schedule gives me just that. This year my resolution is "discipline" as I try to stick to the schedule even more.

Erica Vetsch said...

For me, it helps to write out my goals for a month and post them on my blog. That keeps me accountable and helps me focus.

Man, the time sure does whiz by, don't it?

Cindy R. Wilson said...

You're right, time goes by way too fast. Especially this year.

It's hard for me to make daily goals with my writing. I usually try to make goals on a more long-term level so that allows for flexibility. But I also try to make some pretty strict deadlines to keep myself motivated.

Linda Kage said...

I wouldn't worry so much about how much you've written in a certain time frame. I think this a quality over quantity thing. Just because someone is able to pour out six books a year, doesn't mean they'll sale.

So, I don't like to force my writing anymore; I write when I have an idea that just won't go away. My work doesn't feel as good when I try to force it...but this is just me, plus I've never faced any deadlines!

If writing is really what you love to do, you'll keep going back to it, no matter how long of a break you might take.

Anonymous said...

Such a perfect post for me to read today!

I've been slacking for the past three days, telling myself "I'm just thinking about the next chapter and how to make it so much better", when in reality I am stalling.

This weekend I'm buckling down and getting it done.

Thanks again,

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

You are so right that responsibilities multiply! I'm still wondering how 2x2= 26. That's how it seems in my life, anyway! I definitely struggle with this, but this is the time of year I write more than any other. I'm excited about that!

Have a great weekend!

Diane said...

Even if your writing time has not produced much "fruit" it is still what you love and God has given you this desire. It will bear much fruit! :O)

T. Powell Coltrin said...

It is so hard to get started. Once I am writing it seems to flow, but would someone call me every day and tell me to get with it?

Be a little proud :) you have accomplished much!

quietspirit said...

I have a story I am writing, according to my computer, I hadn't added to the main story in about three weeks.But today, I added to it almost 1,000 words. I use a portable word processor when I can't get to my PC.

Also, I try to spend quantities of time studying for my blog entries and also reading. I would like to finish this story by next summer. I don't know if I will be able to stick with it.

Susan R. Mills said...

The last couple of weeks have been hard for me in this respect. I've set aside three hours to do nothing but write every weekday. Sometimes I get a lot done; other times, not so much.

Lillian Robinson said...

I'll let you know... I'm there now! I've been on a rather long break. I have obligations with my mom and my in-laws that have been quite time consuming. I decided that instead of punishing myself with guilt trips for not writing daily, I would simply take a break until the appointments and procedures are all in the past and I can fully concentrate on my work.

I hope that when the time comes, I can easily pick it back up!

Anonymous said...

It seems though my responsibities have multiplied ten times or more since I've grown older, so yes, your words stand true! In order to read and write, the things I enjoy most of all.. I just have to let other tasks go for a while. Seems I never really get caught up these days, but oh well... it doesn't bother like me like it used to. Have an awesome day, Eileen. Hugs!!!

Keli Gwyn said...

Balancing my writing and other responsibilities is an ongoing challenge. I've recently had to admit I can't do it all and to implement some changes, which involved saying that tiny word that can be so hard to spit out. No.

Congrats on your NaNo success, Eileen.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Ouch! Thanks, I needed that. Except for a contest entry and research, I've been lazing around the "Internet pool." It's time to get back to work.

Susan :)

Jill Kemerer said...

Guilty! I know my problem and it really isn't time management as much as it is fear. I think fear of not succeeding holds me back more than anything.

If I think of writing as a job, I tend to stay in the seat.

Have a great weekend!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

i struggle daily with this!

Jody Hedlund said...

Hi Eileen,

Time management is huge! Without it I wouldn't be able to get any work done. I have learned especially over the past year that I have to manage my time as wisely as possible.

Have a great weekend!